Frank Marshall Paint

When a performer goes on stage to do his act he must be very aware of the light conditions for his figure. If a figures paint is not done correctly either the light will bounce and reflect or will wash the color out completely. This is something that was also found in the early days of vaudeville.

Marshall clearly states in his catalogue dates 1931 ” Lester Formula is an oil paint that does not have that shiny reflection so annoying to an audience” but, as Marshall progressed over the next decade and a half his paint formula changed. He was no longer using just a flat finish but the paint actually had a texture. Was it house paint with the following added?
A) pumice stone;
B) sand;
C) plain old table salt;
D) experiment in florescent paint; or,
E) Marshall took with him to grave.
ANSWER: I am not exactly sure.

W.S. Berger said it was pumice on info from Marshall but that may not be so, more likely sand, salt or other crystal to reflect light. I can say that it has a feel of almost real skin and on some of my figures it is more than others.

So does anyone out there have a solid answer as to what Marshall used to get this great finish in his paint? You know it has stood the test of time as his paint has been copied or at least others have tried to copy it but I know of only one person who has been able to duplicate this finish and he’s not telling.



Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger

NOTE: You may use this blog article provided you run it with the bio box intact. Please email a copy of your publication with the blog article in it to:

This entry was posted in Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Frank Marshall Paint

  1. curtis jones says:

    Didn’t decide from some source it was sawdust added to the paint ?

    I seem to remember a discussion awhile back,if it was house paint or acrylic the texture would give the light something to bounce off of ,reflecting the light.


  2. leedean says:

    I believe that Bob Isaacson might know.

  3. Bill Smith says:

    Sounds very similar to how the Lovik figure i used to own {“Hank” with living mouth} was done. Maybe Clinton knows since those were sold through his “Maher workshop west” in CA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *